After 35 years in coaching, including 29 as Sartell’s head coach, Dave Angell is taking a team to the state boys basketball tournament.
Angell is delighted, if a bit frazzled, about the Sabres heading to the Class 3A tournament. Sartell plays top-seeded and defending state champion Minneapolis DeLaSalle (27-1) at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Williams Arena in Minneapolis.
There are large number of things he has had to do to get ready for Sartell’s first state berth, filling out rosters, doing statistics, exchanging game videos, making hotel arrangements and planning to be away from school for three days while at the end of a quarter. It’s where the frazzled part comes in.
“I’m happy for the guys,” Angell said repeatedly. “We’ve overcome a lot.”
Key players Patrick Fischer, Tom Bearson and Parker Hagen have all battled injuries and illness. Fischer and Hagen are nursing ankle issues.
Angell also points out that Paul Coleman, who was expected to be a key player this season, moved to Las Vegas.
The players are delighted, too, and happy for their head coach, a high school math teacher who has guided the Sabres through thick and thin, not only during this year’s 17-12 season but also for the past 29 years.
“It’s great,” Hagen said. “He’s worked so hard all these years and to get him that trophy is just the best.
“I’d almost say we won it for him, or at least with him in mind.”
Angell, a St. Cloud Apollo graduate, coached in Milan for two seasons in 1977-78 and ’78-79 before moving close to home in Sartell. He was an assistant to John Vinje until taking over as head coach in ’84-85.
That started a string of 11 winning seasons in 12 years, including eight conference championships.
This year’s winning record was the first, however, in eight years.
It’s why the Sabres are relishing the moment after beating Fergus Falls 57-55 in the Section 8-3A final Thursday night at Halenbeck Hall.
Sartell won on a put-back by Tim Immelman as time expired.
“It was an all-around team effort,” Fischer said. “I couldn’t have gotten here without them. I wouldn’t trade any one of these guys for anything.”
It’s not the first time the Sabres have been close. They were in four section finals prior to Thursday.
There have been some agonizing losses, twice in overtime in the section finals to Monticello in 2004 and 2006.
There were opportunities in section finals that went to Sauk Rapids in 2003 and New London-Spicer in 1996, who were both clearly better the day of those games. The ’95-96 team was Angell’s best, going 25-2 and being led by Russell Archambault and Ned Wrightson.
The players say Angell had them ready Thursday.
“He was so pumped up for the game, I couldn’t believe it,” Immelman said. “You could see the fire in his eyes. I’d never seen him like that. He got the whole team fired up.”
Angell brings a career record of 369-358 at Sartell to Wednesday’s game, which he didn’t want publicized, preferring to have the focus on his players.
The team departed tonight after practice for Minneapolis. Angell let the captains decide when to go and they opted to get down there rather than stay home tonight.
“I’ve played with him for four years and I’ve enjoyed every year,” Immelman said. “It’s fun playing for him and we get to end it with a big send-off to state.”
Rocori’s Jonah Eisenschenk is the lone Times’ area athlete selected for the Minnesota Basketball Coaches Association All-Star Series.
Eisenschenk is a 6-5 forward headed to Minnesota-Duluth on a basketball scholarship.
Melrose’s Scottie Stone was invited to participate but had to turn the invitation down because his Spanish class is headed to Ecuador March 28-April 5. Stone, a 6-5 guard headed to St. Cloud State, has a non-refundable ticket.
Coaching the Maroon squad are Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa’s Dave Montbriand and Brad Goodwin.
Others of note on the teams made up of the state’s top 40 seniors are Moorhead’s Aaron Lien, Alexandria’s Logan Doyle, Elk River’s Porter Morrell and Fergus Falls’ Mike Millard.
Lien is one of five Mr. Basketball finalists announced Monday. Also participating in the all-star series are Mr. Basketball finalists Riley Dearing of Minnetonka and Quinton Hooker of Park Center. Finalists Anders Broman of Lakeview Christian and Graham Woodward of Edina are not in the all-star series.
The teams play starting at 7 p.m. April 5 at St. Cloud State’s Halenbeck Hall. Three-point shooting and dunk contests take place before the games.
The series concludes at 2:15 p.m. Saturday at Macalester College in St. Paul. Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for students. Children age 5 and under are free.
Heading to NCAAs
New Mexico’s Michole Timm, a sophomore from Sauk Rapids, has qualified for the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships in Indianapolis.
Timm took third in the 3-meter springboard dive to advance at zone qualifier in Colorado Springs, Colo. She scored 322.20 points in the final round after being in fourth place with a 318.80 in preliminary competition.
Anne Schleper, a 2008 St. Cloud Cathedral graduate and former Minnesota great, is playing professionally for the Boston Blades of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League.
Schleper, a 5-foot-10 defender, had two goals and 13 assists in her first 22 games with the Blades.